“A realistic way to maintain a positive attitude is to realize that, while things don’t always go according to our hopes and projections, most of our worries don’t pan out, either. Things almost never turn out to be as bad as we anticipate they will be.” - Oliver Burkeman, author The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking as reported by Jon Spayde
I haven’t read this book. But I thought the quote was an interesting twist on the standard ‘positive thinking’ advice we often hear. And it reminds me of all of those research studies that show that we often think bad things are going to happen to us (ex: our plane might crash) when it’s highly unlikely they actually will.
Bad things probably do happen in your relationship. But what I find is that anxiety around anticipating those problems makes them much worse. In fact, anxiety about what might be coming your way can actually create problems that didn’t exist before.
This used to happen in my relationship, for example, when I became anxious that my husband wouldn’t hear what I wanted him to hear, and therefore made my voice more stern or louder. That, in turn, shut him down – ensuring that he wouldn’t hear me! All because I was anxious before a word came out of my mouth!
If only I had been thinking that things wouldn’t have been as bad as I had anticipated they might be, and given him the benefit of the doubt. Because when I didn’t use that tone of voice, he usually did hear what I was saying. Which isn’t to say he agreed with it, but listening is the starting point for all negotiations.
For Parents of Children with ADHD - Check out the Back To School Week by ImpactADHD, Sept 21-25.
For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including: a free online treatment overview; free downloadable chapters of my books; a community forum with other couples facing similar issues; a large number of blog posts on various topics; referrals; and my very popular couples courses: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - Next live session begins October 6 - this eight-session seminar has helped many couples turn around their relationship, and Recovering Intimacy in Your Relationship - Next session begins November 10 - This new seminar is designed to help couples become more intimate on every level. Both seminars are given by phone, so anyone may participate.